Mold found in homes is a type of fungus that lives by breaking down the material on which it resides. As part of their life cycle, molds produce spores for reproduction.
It’s these mold spores that cause health problems. Because the mold spores travel in the air, it is difficult to get rid of them directly.
For most homes, it’s nearly impossible to remove all traces of mold and mold spores. Therefore, the best approach is to use green products to reduce the amount to a level that is safe for the people living there.
- Look for molds and their residue (they usually can be found as clusters of dark spots or patches) on walls, floors, baseboards, furniture, fixtures or carpeting. Mold most commonly can be found in bathrooms and kitchens where moisture is more prevalent.
- Moisten a damp cloth with vinegar and use it to wipe away mold on flat surfaces. Vinegar kills mold on contact. For irregular areas, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and use it to spray moldy areas, then wipe them clean as best as you can. For carpets, cover them with baking soda for several hours and then vacuum. For stubborn molds, try tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract, both natural green products that can be found in most health food stores.
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce mold growth by lowering the indoor humidity levels to below 50 percent. A good green product for doing so is the Dry-Out natural dehumidifier. It uses no electricity or other power source. Instead, it pulls moisture out of the air using a type of salt. Also, be sure to use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Several common green products can be used for for removing mold spores from the air. Beeswax candles, when burned, remove positive ions from the air, which spores cling to for transport. According to studies by Dr. Bill Wolverton, some common house plants (including Chinese evergreen, peace lily and arrowhead vine) actually reduce the number of mold spores in the air, along with other pollutants.
- Use Energy Star air purifiers. Electronic air purifiers, particularly the HEPA variety, made to reduce the amount of very tiny particles such a bacteria and mold spores, can help to rid the air of most mold spores.